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Dept of Energy Supports Carbon Sequestration Research, University of Miami Receives $1.7 Million

Federal Agency Funds Multidisciplinary Study of Major Tool in Fight Against Global Warming

DOE

MIAMI – Carbon sequestration is developing into one of the nation’s premiere tools in the fight against global warming. The concept is that geological reservoirs, such as depleted oil and natural gas reservoirs, can be used to store CO2, a by-product of combustion and a major greenhouse gas. CO2would be captured at coal burning power plants, one of the largest point sources of CO2, and transported by pipeline to reservoirs where it would be pumped for long term storage.

A team from the University of Miami’s (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science was among 19 entities awarded funds by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to research new methods for monitoring leakage from potential CO2reservoirs. Led by Drs. Tim Dixon and Peter Swart, the team also includes Drs. Falk Amelung and Guoqin Lin from UM Rosenstiel School’s Marine Geology and Geophysics (MGG) division and Dr. Dan Riemer from Marine and Atmospheric Chemistry.

The big challenge is to make sure the carbon stays put.  That’s where the UM team’s expertise comes in.  “We’re employing state-of-the-art geophysical and geochemical techniques -- many of them developed or refined at the University of Miami -- to monitor the reservoirs and make sure the CO2 remains safely sequestered.” said Principal Investigator Tim Dixon.  “The tools we will be using include sophisticated satellite observations that image subtle motions of the ground surface in response to pressure changes at depth, seismic data, and state-of-the-art geochemical sampling equipment.”

The team received $1.7 million from the DOE, and expects to begin their work in October 2009, with instrument deployment beginning in 2010 at a site in the western United States, to be selected by the DOE.

“We're very proud to be helping out on this important environmental issue, and applying our combined expertise to this national concern,” said Dr. Peter Swart, a co-principal investigator on the project and chair of MGG. “CO2 is not only contributing to global warming, but is also implicated in ocean acidification, a looming problem for many marine organisms.”

The Department of Energy's mission is to advance the national, economic, and energy security of the United States; to promote scientific and technological innovation in support of that mission; and to ensure environmental cleanup of the national nuclear weapons complex. The Department's strategic goals include energy security, nuclear security, scientific discovery and innovation, and environmental responsibility. For more information visit www.energy.gov

About the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School
The University of Miami is the largest private research institution in the southeastern United States. The University’s mission is to provide quality education, attract and retain outstanding students, support the faculty and their research, and build an endowment for University initiatives. Founded in the 1940’s, the Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science has grown into one of the world’s premier marine and atmospheric research institutions. Offering dynamic interdisciplinary academics, the Rosenstiel School is dedicated to helping communities to better understand the planet, participating in the establishment of environmental policies, and aiding in the improvement of society and quality of life. For more information, please visit www.rsmas.miami.edu

Media Contacts:

Barbra Gonzalez
UM Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science
305.421.4704
barbgo@rsmas.miami.edu
Marie Guma-Diaz
UM Media Relations Office
305.284.1601
m.gumadiaz@umiami.edu

Tags:
carbon dioxide •  global warming •  department of energy •  dr. dan riemer •  dr. peter swart •  falk amelung •  dr. guoquin lin •  environmental •  dr. tim dixon •